The UK economy was resilient, with employment

Direct Line Company Report


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A strategic concern unit ( SBU ) can be defined as a unit of the company that has a separate mission and aims and that can be planned independently from the other concerns. An SBU can be a company division, a merchandise line or even single trade names – it all depends on how the company is organised. [ 1 ] One such company, which in fact has multiple SBUs is Direct Line.

Direct Line is presently managed by Chris Moat ( Managing Director ) and it was founded in April 1985 in the UK as a auto insurance company. However today it presently offers place insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance and life insurance – merely to advert a few. This study will nevertheless analyze the motor insurance industry and the auto insurance SBU that operates as a division of Direct Line. [ 2 ]

The purposes of this study are:

  1. To place the concern scheme of the SBU over the last five old ages
  2. To place the resources and capablenesss over the last five old ages and analyse the extent to which has aligned its resources and capablenesss to its concern scheme
  3. To measure the public presentation of the SBU.

Part 1Direct Line’s Car Insurance concern scheme over the last five old ages

The footing for Direct Line’s scheme was harmonizing to Bowman’s [ 3 ] strategic clock (seeAppendix A) scheme one – no frills or low price/low added value – it represents the most basic of merchandises and therefore the lowest perceived added value.

Direct Line Car Insurance continues to put in its hereafter and execution of its new five-year strategic program is good under manner. In the first six months of 2004, it took a figure of important enterprises in line with the program. Direct Line Car Insurance started to reorganize its concern in the UK to better productiveness and client contact. [ 4 ]

Porter’s Five Forces:

Menace of new entrants

Power of providers purchasers

Menace of replacement merchandises

Figure 1 Outline of Porter’s Schema of Competitive Forces

Beginning: “Management Theory and Practice” by G.A.Cole, 1998, published by ELBS.

Normally the most powerful of the five forces is really strong because: ( 1 ) Rivals are active in doing fresh moves to increase gross revenues and market portion ; ( 2 ) The figure of challengers scopes from at least 5 to upwards of 12 or more. There are many rivals and intense competition in this industry. As shown inAppendix B, the top five rivals in the industry as of 2003 were Motor Direct, RAC, Car, Direct Line and Norwich Union auto insurance severally. The fierceness of the competition is made more apparent by the Norwich Union’s ten-place betterment from 15th to 5th. ; ( 3 ) Rivals are of approximately equal size and capableness – the top five rivals are all really big and they offer a broad scope of services similar to Direct Line e.g. place insurance, motor insurance and cyberspace and tele-marketing – the similarity in size of these companies acts as a menace to the sustainability of Direct Line’s endurance. ; ( 4 ) Buyer costs to exchange trade names are low ; ( 5 ) Rivals are dissatisfied with their current place and market portion and do aggressive moves to better their market chances ; ( 6 ) Rivals have diverse schemes and aims and are located in different states.

Menace of New Entrants

This is significantly weak because of the undermentioned grounds ; The pool of entry campaigners is little or entry barriers are high e.g. ( 1 ) Ample economic systems of graduated table ( 2 ) Inability to derive entree to specialized engineering ( 3 ) Being of strong learning/experience curve effects ( 4 ) Strong trade name penchants and client trueness ( 5 ) Large capital demands and/or other specialized resource demands ( 6 ) Cost disadvantages independent of size ( 7 ) Difficulties in deriving entree to distribution channels ( 8 ) Regulatory policies, duties, trade limitations ; Existing rivals are fighting to gain good net incomes ; The industry’s mentality is hazardous or unsure.

Menace of Substitutes

Substitutes to motor insurance will be other motor insurance companies which operate really similar to each other. In theory these establishments are considered a menace because ; they are readily available and new 1s are emerging ; they are lower priced comparative to the public presentation they deliver and ; purchasers have low costs in exchanging to replacements. Practically the theory besides applies to the industry. In other words it is a unstable nucleus competency of the industry.


In footings of information engineering ( IT ) and insurance ( investment bankers ) , these providers have important power in this industry since there are really few trustworthy package and hardware companies such as Microsoft and Cisco. Supplier dickering power is strong because: marketer exchanging costs to alternate providers are high ; some providers are a menace to incorporate frontward into the concern of their clients and ; needed inputs are in short supply. Suppliers are a strong force because they can exert power over: Monetary values charged ; quality and public presentation of points supplied and ; dependability of bringings. This presents an chance for insurance bureaus to develop their ain information systems.


Buyers are a strong competitory force because:

  • They are big and purchase a ample per centum of the industry’s merchandise
  • They buy in big measures
  • Industry’s merchandise is standardised
  • Their costs in exchanging to replacements or other trade names are low
  • They can buy from several Sellerss

Therefore purchasers are a strong competitory force because they have leverage to dicker over:

  • Monetary value
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Other footings and conditions of sale

By and large talking the competitory environment is ideal from a profit-making point of view because: competition is moderate ; entry barriers are high. Possibly the lone unattractive facet of the environment is that providers and clients have considerable bargaining power.

The restrictions to Porter’s Five Forces theoretical account were skips of issues such as statute law and ordinance, social values and life styles, the economic system at big and stakeholders in the industry’s environment e.g. communityvis-a-vispopulation demographics and engineering. In visible radiation of this shortcoming the undermentioned analytical tool was besides exploited.

Resource Audit

  • Threshold resources – Information systems and information engineering.
  • Core competences – really low charges, 24 hr service, and the ability to exceed cross boundary lines and extremely experient adept sentiment.

Physical resources:

  • Customers and providers are comparatively stable with great potency for Direct Line Car Insurance market portion to increase

Human resources:

  • Intelligent, educated and great staff keeping – one looming menace is disease such as the awful bird grippe.

Intangible resources:

  • Repute as holding the stake motor insurance rates in UK – making a trade name image in the heads of the consumers as the insurance company to acquire insured by.

Other cardinal resources:

  • Leadership – multilingual, aged but energetic and ambitious ; frugalness governs all determinations and determinations are chiefly top down.

Part 3Appraisal of Performance

Some of the steps it is taking in the UK are painful but they are indispensable, and there are already marks that it is giving consequences in footings of concern growing. Meanwhile, its creative activity of over 9,000 new customer-facing functions will beef up Direct Liner’s service degrees.

Elsewhere, it has expanded a web of subdivisions in Spain. Direct Line has deployed a turning sum of work internationally through the farther development of its Group Service Centres. Direct Line has upgraded and expanded through selective enlisting its markets and insurance capablenesss ; and above all, it is reconfiguring its concern in response to the transforming effects which engineering has on its relationship with clients.

Fiscal resources:

  • Well high hazard – geartrain is 22.1 compared to the industry norm of 19.5 %
  • Harmonizing to Altman’s Z mark i.e. Z = aR1 + bR2 + cR3 + dR4 + eR5, a Z mark of 2.7 or more agencies that a house is exposing corporate success ; on the other manus a house exposing a Z mark of 1.8 or less is neglecting. Direct Line’s Z mark was a high 5.4 in 2003 – a clear indicant of corporate success in malice of its high geartrain ratio.

Direct Line made good advancement in all client groups during this half-year. It is peculiarly delighting to observe that it has achieved strong organic growing in many established markets, which have non benefited from its acquisition activity over the past few old ages. For illustration, Direct Line Motor Insurance increased pre-tax net incomes in Spain by 27 per cent to US $ 159 million and in Germany by 36 per cent to US $ 98 million. In the UK, fees and committees rose by 40 per cent to make US $ 904 million. This represents compound one-year growing of 16 per cent since the first half of 2005.

Strategic determinations are the basic, long-run determinations which settle the organisation’s relationship with its environment, notably in footings of its merchandise or service and its markets. These are the determinations which set the chief ends and aims of the administration. They are normally complex because of the figure of variables which have to be considered before concluding picks are made.

It is apparent from the research done that Direct Line is good equipped to take advantage of chances and to protect itself against menaces identified in Part 2.


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